In the end, it was a case of so near, but yet so far for Arron Monk – but despite coming up empty handed at the penultimate PDC Unicorn Youth Tour weekend, he is within touching distance of the prestigious title!
The Unicorn star lost in two semi-finals and one quarter-final of the Youth Tour weekend in Derby, but the £500 he earned actually extends his lead at the top of the of the Order of Merit.
The three tournaments were won by Jamie Lewis, Jamie Landon and Michael Smith, who is now second behind Monk in table with just three tournaments to be played.
The top of the PDC Unicorn Youth Tour Order of Merit sees Monk on £3,525, followed by Smith on £2,650 and James Hubbard on £2,600.
It will take something extraordinary to stop Monk from winning the 2012 Youth Tour, but he will still be bitterly disappointed that he didn’t go on to clinch his fifth tournament win of the year.
On Saturday, he lost a last leg decider to young Welsh star Jamie Lewis in the semi-finals.....Monk had beaten Hubbard in the quarter-finals and missed opportunities cost him in his 3-4 defeat to Lewis, who eventually beat Smith 4-0 in the final.
In Saturday’s second event, Monk was again beaten in a last leg decider by Lewis – this time in the quarter-finals, as Jamie Landon won the tournament with a 4-1 victory over John de Kruijf.
Then on Sunday, more frustration and more missed chances from the young star from Hampshire.....after whitewashing PDC Unicorn Youth World Champion Hubbard in the quarter-finals, Monk lost 3-4 in the semi’s against Lee Whitworth.
Whitworth was comprehensively beaten 4-0 by Michael Smith in the final – a result which sees the St Helens ace go above Hubbard in the Order of Merit, but still £875 behind Monk!
Elsewhere in Derby, Keegan Brown started strongly with a quarter-final appearance before losing 2-4 to Brandon Walsh....the Unicorn ‘Contender’ was beaten 4-1 by Lewis in the last 16 in the second event, but lost in the 2nd Round on Sunday, as he lost in a deciding leg to Ben Songhurst.
And Team Unicorn Generation 180 youngster Dan Read had a mixed weekend.....on Saturday, he reached the 3rd Round before losing 1-4 to Jake Patchett....then came a 2nd Round 2-4 defeat to Jake Jones, but on Sunday he lost in round one – going down 1-4 to Adam Hunt.....but it is all a terrific learn curve for young Read.
The final three PDC Unicorn Youth Tour events of the year take place in Wigan at the end of September.
By STUART PYKE
Photo courtesy Lawrence Lustig / PDC